Say speakers, demanding implementation of Children’s Act-2013
News Desk : dhakamirror.com
The Children’s Act-2013 needs to be implemented as soon as possible, along with creating a separate commission, to ensure the rights of children, said speakers at an event yesterday.
They said although it has been required by law, since 2001, to obtain birth certificates, many people still do not do so due to a combination of ignorance and the perceived complexity of the procedure.
The event, titled “National Consultation on Child-Focused UPR Stakeholder’s Report”, was organised by Child Rights Advocacy Coalition Bangladesh and Joining Forces Bangladesh, presenting a draft report detailing the development, limitations, and recommendations of child rights in Bangladesh.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki said, “A child’s rights may be jeopardised due to the difficulty of obtaining a birth certificate. Union and municipal officials have been accused of overcharging for birth certificates as well.”
“The role of parents is crucial. Our parents are more concerned with our academic performance and prospects than with our development as individuals. As a result, they fail to make use of resources meant to foster children’s cognitive growth,” she added.
Seventeen-year-old Mosammat Anika shared how she intervened when a girl in the fifth grade living in a Mohammadpur slum was being married off a month ago.
“I dialled 1098 and successfully halted the wedding. That girl’s name was recorded as a ‘survivor of child marriage’ by government officials. Later that night, however, the girl was married off anyway,” said Anika.
According to the stakeholders’ report, child marriage increased by 10 percent between 2020 and 2021 as a result of the local authorities’ lack of monitoring. Around 27 percent of those married were between the age of 15 and 19.
Meanwhile, between 2019 and 2022 (till February), 2,189 children got killed and 3,339 were raped, of whom, 219 were male children. Some 688 faced an attempt to rape, the report mentioned. It recommended the assurance of speedy trial of trafficking and sexual exploitation cases, focusing not only on female victims but also on male and transgender victims.
Despite adopting the ILO Convention-138, the report found that there are 34,50,000 child labourers in the country, of whom, 12,80,000 are engaged in hazardous occupations.
The report also highlighted the need for raising the age of criminal responsibility by amending the juvenile act.
M Robiul Islam, assistant director of the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh, said, “Political groups exploit children for their interests. Children get involved in anarchy and violent politics. This is a huge problem that rarely receives attention, but it must be addressed if we care about the safety of our children.”
Fatema Rashid Hasan, secretary general of the executive committee of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), and Abdullah Al Mamun, director of Child Protection and Child Rights Governance at Save the Children International, spoke at the event among others.